Growing up my grandfather always called me his Numero Uno as I was his first born grandchild. For a few months when I was a baby my parents and I lived with him and my Nanny at their home in Barry, and as a result I formed an incredibly close bond with them both.
Three years ago my Nonno (that’s what I called my grandfather) was diagnosed with terminal cancer. The news was devastating, but at times of crisis you really see the best in other people and I will always be grateful for the wonderful care and support he received in the final months of his life.
Nonno was taken to the Holme Towers Hospice in Penarth run by the charity Marie Curie. The staff couldn’t have been more helpful to him or to our family, and they always treated him as person and not a patient. They let him drink his favourite red wine when he wanted, on his birthday they baked a cake and they allowed all of us to sit and talk to him any time we wanted – and as we’re a Welsh Italian family you can imagine how many visitors he had!
In the end though what Nonno really wanted was to sit in his own chair. So, with the help of the Marie Curie doctors and nurses, Nonno was able to go back home, where he passed away surrounded by family and friends, just as he had wanted.
I couldn’t have asked for better care for him, and I know I’m not alone in singing the hospice’s praises as close friends of mine have also had firsthand experience of its services.
That’s why I am now such a supporter of the charity. So when I was asked to attend a ladies’ luncheon in aid of Marie Curie last Friday and host the auction with Xavier Rush from the Cardiff Blues I couldn’t say no. Together we raised several thousand pounds, money which should be put to great use.
But you don’t need to spend anything like that amount if you want to support them too. This month Marie Curie has launched its Great Daffodil Appeal, they’d like everyone to buy one of their daffodil brooches. I’ve already got mine; now all you need to do is put a pound in the box when you see one of their sellers, then wear your daffodil with pride.
(For more information about Marie Curie visit http://www.mariecurie.org.uk/ )